You best believe I’m going to start calling Alex DeBrincat “Top Cat” when he gets here. Try and stop me. He’s got cat moves and he’s got cat style.
You’ve probably seen this already, but if you haven’t the Hawks’ second round pick from June, Alex DeBrincat, is absolutely torching the OHL so far this season. Like, it’s Mongolian hordes shit. So far in just 14 games, Top Cat has 17 goals and 18 assists for 34 points. He’s also averaging almost five shots per game at 4.8.
I was curious what became of players the past few years who have averaged two points per game in the O. It has happened, and while the OHL is pretty free-wheeling it’s not the QMJHL. There are certainly some names here.
Last year, two players averaged two points per game in the OHL. They are Christian Dvorak and Mitch Marner. Both are in the NHL now, with Marner already impressing. Two years ago, three players did it. Marner did it again, Sam Bennett did it also, and then there was some slapdick player named McDavid who did it as well.
Three years ago no one averaged more than two points per game. The highest were McDavid at 1.77 per game and Connor Brown at 1.88. Brown is also in the NHL, but he’s the first name to serve an apprenticeship in the AHL. Though that’s with the Maple Leafs, who had their own plan. Four years ago again no one did it, with Galchenyuk leading the league at 1.85. He too jumped straight to the NHL. Behind him was Ryan Strome at 1.77, who then played 37 games in the NHL the next year while bouncing between the Show and the A. And finally, five years ago some jamoke named Saad led the league at 1.77 points per game, and he was in the NHL the very next season as well. Though due to the lockout he did get a half-season in Rockford. He probably would have started with the Hawks had the season started on time, though he would have still needed a Dan Carcillo injury to get into the lineup (NEVER FORGET).
It’s not hard and fast, but of all the players to appear on this list to put up numbers like Top Cat is putting up now, only two didn’t go straight into the NHL once they left junior. Some are still finding their way in the NHL, and some are already starring. Sure, DeBrincat’s numbers might come down a bit because even against children he’s not going to shoot 25%… I think. But if he can maintain near this level all season, you would think he has an excellent chance at being in Chicago next fall. And that’s even with his size deficiency. That hasn’t been a problem for Marner, yet.
-Q let it be known that Tyler Motte will miss a couple-two-tree weeks with his lower body injury. That’s something of a relief as it looked like it could have been much worse. Motte’s simple game was playing well on the bottom six, and it’s a shame he won’t get to build on that momentum (and continue to make Fifth Feather look stupid, which we’re all for here at the CI Lab). It answers the question of who Andrew Desjardins will replace, and also earns Nick Schmaltz something of a reprieve. Schmaltz has lagged behind Motte and Hartman in impact, looking soft on his stick and tentative. He did get some burn with Daydream Nation in the latter half of the game against the Stars, and that was the most active he looked. He also boned some passes on his backhand. We’ll see if he gets another chance tomorrow night.
-As I said on Twitter, we did actually record a podcast last night, and then the digital recording monster (a distant cousin of the BABIP Dragon) ate it. We’ll get back at it next week, and accept our apologies.